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Contemporary Issues In Western Religion Essay

869 words - 4 pages

Contemporary Issues in Western Religions

Contemporary: Current, modern, popular, progressive, present-day, fashionable, and up-to-date.
Can this definition apply to a religion that is more than 2000 years old? Christianity struggles within its own religious borders to be contemporary and remain relevant in today’s ever changing landscape of religions and beliefs. The question must be asked regarding when is too much. How far can the Christian faith push its borders without losing its core and traditional meanings and foundations? The appeal of the Christian religion has to compete with the social world in which it exists. The traditional Christian is viewed by many as stagnant, stiff, ...view middle of the document...

Peter's Basilica in Rome to the simplicity of a storefront tabernacle in Harlem, and from the showbiz antics of the television evangelists to the humble charity of a Mother Teresa (Sheler, 2001). Today’s society poses issues such as terrorism, the morality of same sex marriages, abortion, and the AIDS pandemic just to name a few. As shown by Sheler, Christianity has strived in one way or another to be current and up-to-date with issues and to stay current as a religion.
The concept of a contemporary religion is not confined to Christianity. Judaism and Islam have also shared in the struggle to stay relevant among its believers. Judaism, over the past few centuries has developed several major movements or divisions. These divisions are based on differences in practice, not differences in belief. Most Jews fall under one of three main groups: Orthodox, Conservative, or Reformed Jews. The Orthodox holds most dearly to the old ways, abiding by the laws of Torah. The Conservative Jews are "middle-of-the-road" - somewhere between Orthodox and Reform in their practice. Conservative Judaism was a response to the early reformers. The conservatives wanted to conserve some of the old ways while still adjusting somewhat to modern life. Reform Judaism had its origins in 19th century Germany with the European Enlightenment. Their changes (reforms) were intended to allow them to assimilate better into the larger society, to drop much of what set them apart from the surrounding Christian culture. Although they never adopted Christian beliefs, much of contemporary Reform Jewish practice was modeled after Protestant Christian practice. Yet Reform Jews also hold to their ancient Jewish heritage by continuing to observe and celebrate the same Jewish holidays as the Orthodox do - the...

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